April is Minority Health Awareness Month
"We as minorities tend to have a lot of issues," Dr. Michelle Bandy, with Optimal Health Center, said. "We fall behind the eight ball, but we are making changes. We tend to take our health more seriously now."
That seems to be paying off. When it comes to the health of minorities, there's good news. African Americans are living longer, but there's also some bad news. Younger African Americans are living with diseases that are more common in people of older ages. Conditions like high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
We spoke to Dr. Michelle Bandy from Optimal Health Center who says it's important to start with small changes.
"Walking, getting out in the sun," Bandy said. "A lot of people are vitamin D deficient. I also encourage simple things as we don't drink a lot of water. We can change a lot in our lives by drinking water."
Statistics show that when those diseases start early, they can lead to death earlier.
According to the CDC, African Americans are more likely to die at a younger age from all causes.
"Often, we are the last ones to go in when things are starting to fall apart, where it's more to go in for prevention or when you feel something happening," Bandy said.
April is National Minority Health Awareness Month, and doctors and health care professionals are taking this time to encourage minorities to make lifestyle changes and take control of their health.
"In most cases, if we would just get out and exercise, sunlight, eating more whole foods, getting rest, prayer, these things can help with overall health and move us in the right direction," Bandy added.
Doctor Bandy said there are a number of factors that play a key role when it comes to why more minorities find themselves in poor health. Those factors include access to care, cost and insurance, along with other things like stress.
"I believe stress adds to a lot of the health issues," Dr. Bandy added. "The more stress you are under, the more you open yourself up to health illnesses."
Despite the not so good news, Dr. Bandy said she wants to focus on the positive and what can be done from this point to turn things around.
"Listen, love and let go. Listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right, get it checked out. Love yourself enough to do something about it. Also, do preventive care and letting go," Dr. Bandy said.
For more information, visit Optimal Health Center's website.